Man Builds Library of Comebacks
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BAUDETTE, MN Joshua O’Connor will admit that he’s not the brightest man alive. When someone says something rude or unkind to him, he can’t always come up with a response. In fact, it usually takes several weeks before he can think of a witty response.

But, really, who hasn’t been in this situation? Who hasn’t responded to an insult with, “Oh, yeah…?” or “I know you are, but what am I?” only to think of the perfect response days later, when it’s much too late to replay the situation?

But what distinguishes O’Connor from everyone else—those who just accept that they’ve been insulted and move on—is that he’s thinking ahead. He’s looking ahead to next time and planning accordingly. If someone tears him down, O’Connor writes down the perfect response—even if it doesn’t come to him for several weeks…or even months. That way, he can be prepared.

To date, O’Connor has documented over 450 witty comebacks, along with the corresponding derogatory statement. He’s stored them in a database that cross-references them in a number of ways, including categories for a variety of occasions, such as weddings, birthday parties, and family reunions. They’re all alphabetized by both comment and response.

O’Connor’s collection also includes a long list of witty one-liners and knee-slapping jokes for every occasion, including over 100 responses to the question “How are ya?”

“People used to think I wasn’t too bright,” says O’Connor, “but now they admire my wit and intelligence.”

For instance, when faced with a rude and sarcastic comment, such as, “Where did you get your driver’s license, a Cracker Jack box?” O’Connor can look up the comment under “D” for “driver’s license” or “C” for “Cracker Jack box.” The insult will then appear in either place. He can also look under “General Insults,” where he’ll learn that one of the best responses would be, “[Laugh] Yeah… Hey, who cuts your hair, Stevie Wonder?”

O’Connor says that he’s collected the long list thanks to his friends and family, who have helped him come up with most of the lines that appear in his collection. He currently carries the collection in his pocket, but he plans to release Volume One of his Book of Comebacks sometime this summer. He plans to make the iPhone app available shortly thereafter.

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